ALTO, Mich. -- Bill and Marge Melvin have a big day coming up in August. They're celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and plan to have a big gathering. So they wanted to get their driveway redone which is already in need of work.
"It's a fairly substantial driveway," Bill Melvin said.
The Melvins were prepared to pay $35,000 to resurface and expand their already large, circle driveway and build a pickleball court. After getting a few quotes, the Alto couple went with Jerry's Asphalt Paving in Grand Rapids. They said, initially they were comfortable about working with the owner, Jerry Carpentier.
"He told us that because it was early and if we signed the contract right away and gave him a deposit, that he could do it in the first two weeks," Melvin explained.
That was in back April. But after Carpentier cashed their $5,000 dollar deposit, they say a month of silence went by.
That's when Melvin called Carpentier and asked, "When are you going to do our driveway?"
"[Jerry] said, 'Oh we're gonna do it this next week' and that week came and went and another week after that. And I called back and no answer. No answer, and I've called back 7 or 8 times and you never get an answer."
So Melvin, who’s also a veteran, drove to Jerry Carpentier's business address.
"And it's just a vacant home," Melvin stated.
Melvin said he called the Better Business Bureau and found out there are several open complaints against Jerry's Asphalt Paving. In fact, the Problem Solvers found the company has an 'F' rating.
"This was the letter I sent to him demanding the deposit back," Melvin pointed out.
The Melvins sent a certified letter that appears to have been signed by Jerry Carpentier's significant other, but the Melvins say they still haven't heard back.
"We certainly would like to get our money back and more than anything just like to let other people know that he's not a reputable person. Beware," Melvin said.
To make those things happen, the couple emailed the FOX 17 Problem Solvers. We went knocking. The business address for Jerry's Asphalt Paving does indeed appear vacant and has a lock box on the knob. FOX 17 left him a voice message and then stopped by his listed home address.
The girl who came to the door said she'd let her father know that FOX 17 stopped by looking for him.
The Melvins say this whole experience is devastating, and it's something they don’t want anyone else to go through.
Marge Melvin said, "Jerry, just because people are out there and they're seniors and you think you can put on a big show and take their money and run... it's not fair to anybody to fall into this."
Bill Melvin said, "It really bothers me that somebody like that would get away with what he's done and be able to go on to the next victim and he is."
Hours after the Problem Solvers called Jerry Carpentier and visited his home, Bill Melvin said he finally heard from Jerry. He said Jerry Carpentier went back and forth on whether he'd pay the couple back and gave them a number of excuses.
The next step is for the Problem Solvers to call the Kent County Sheriff's Department this week. We have advised the Melvins to do the same.